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DfE direction for SEND accepted

Slough Borough Council and its partners in the provision of services to children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), have fully accepted a statutory direction from the Department of Education (DfE) demanding fast improvements in services.


The direction, published today (Friday 4 August), follows a monitoring visit in February 2023 where the DfE found the service – originally found to have severe weaknesses in 2021 – had not improved quickly or comprehensively enough despite an official written statement of action being approved nearly a year before.


Sue Butcher, Executive Director of People (Children) at Slough Borough Council and Chief Executive of Slough Children First, said: “At the time of the DFE Monitoring Visit at the end of February 2023 it was evident that rapid progress had not been made to address the seven priorities identified by Ofsted and the CQC in the Written Statement of Action.


“We fully accept that finding; progress has not been good enough and agree with Minister Coutinho that there must be ‘demonstrable improvement of those services and the experiences and outcomes of children and young people who depend upon them’.”


She added: “We are pleased the DFE have recognised the considerable change in senior leadership at Slough Borough Council in recent months and that the new leadership team are ‘determined and motivated to bring positive change’.


“Much work has been undertaken since the February inspection; however, these are just the beginning, the green shoots of a better approach and better services. There is still much to be done before every SEND child and their family sees that change for themselves.”


Councillor Dexter Smith, leader of the council, said: “Services to the most vulnerable children in Slough in recent years have not been good enough but we are committed to working with the DfE to make the improvements necessary and drive for positive outcomes for SEND children and their families. This is a key focus of my administration.


“Our draft corporate plan focuses on children as a key priority for now and for the future and we are committed to turning that strategic focus into swift and sustainable improvements in our services.”


Tracey Faraday-Drake, Director for Children and Young People and All Age Learning Disabilities and Autism at Frimley Integrated Care Board, said: “We welcome this approach and are working together with our colleagues in the borough council to ensure children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities have the support they need to lead a happy and healthy childhood.”


The published direction can be found here: Direction issued to Slough Borough Council - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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